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Coach charged after school surveillance video shows his attack on student from behind, choking teen

Posted at 12:31 PM, Jun 12, 2024

YPSILANTI, Mich. (WXYZ) — The parents of an Ypsilanti Middle School student want to see one of their son's coaches charged with assault after school surveillance video shows the coach attacking their child from behind, choking him with a shirt.

We covered the story on Monday, and on Wednesday, the Washtenaw County Prosecutor's Office confirmed to ABC News they have charged the coach.

He is charged with assault with intent to do great bodily harm by strangulation and assault and battery, a misdemeanor.

RELATED VIDEO: Surveillance videos show altercation between school employee and student

Surveillance videos show altercation between school employee and student

"I was angry," said Steve Moon, father of the 14-year-old student who did not return to school after Tuesday's assault.

"They were very close and I was pretty upset," Moon told 7 News Detroit Monday. "I said if he can do that to Michael, I'd like to see him try to do that to me."

Michael's mother, Yolanda Ellis, said she was horrified when she saw the surveillance video that the school refused to let her see.

The day it happened, Moon went to Ypsilanti Police to file a complaint. Police later provided the parents with a copy of the video.

Michael told his parents it began when the coach, who also serves as a hall monitor, ordered him to do some push-ups because he had been horsing around in the hallway.

There is no audio on the surveillance video but you can see Michael on his knees, extending his arms out as if he's trying to show the coach something with his hands.

Michael's mother said her son had a hand injury and was trying to explain why he couldn't do the push-ups.

A short time later, Michael gets up, walks past the coach who seated, and goes into a classroom.

Ten seconds later, the coach gets up and goes into the room to get Michael.

Once in the hallway, Michael is walking ahead of the coach when the man takes a shirt and wraps it around his hands and wrists before putting it around Michael's neck. Michael can be seen struggling and his face appears to become discolored.

The coach either lets go or Michael is able to break free.

Michael's mother said that day, the principal told her he was disgusted with what he'd seen and that the person had been terminated.

Michael did not return to school, and his parents said no school official or any district official has reached out to them since to see how their son is doing.

7 News has been unable to reach the coach, who is also listed on the school's website as a "paraeducator," for comment.

The family has retained attorney Jordan Vahdat, who said he will conduct his own investigation into the assault as well as any previous issues the coach may have had with other students that would have put the district on notice that the coach may not have been fit to be around students.

Ypsilanti Community Schools Superintendent Alena Zachery-Ross released the following statement Monday:

Our district is dedicated to creating a safe and supportive environment for all students. The actions of the employee are absolutely unacceptable and will not be tolerated in our district. Effective immediately, the employee is no longer working at the school district, and is not permitted to enter school property or attend school activities. We will continue to implement and enforce policies that protect our students and ensure their well-being.

The district also sent a letter to parents Monday, alerting them to a "serious incident" involving an employee.

The letter to parents indicates that the incident took place at the "end of last week" but Michael's parents said it happened Tuesday.

The letter does not mention an assault or the nature of the incident. It does say, ".. we are committed to continuing to fully cooperate with the involved authorities. Due to the ongoing nature of this investigation and the involvement of a student, we are unable to provide specific details."

Michael's parents and their attorney hope to hear soon that some criminal charge has been filed against the coach.

"It made me lose trust in the school system," said Michael's mother. "It also made me lose trust in that coach because he was someone that Michael looked up to."